We have witnessed the growing popularity of stripes as they seep into many aspects of South Korean fashion. Yet for all of their numerous appearances, one form is displayed most often: the horizontally striped shirt. Of all the brands to try their hand at tackling this infamous style, Saint James does it extremely well and has become increasingly recognized for their craft. Saint James has been selected by various singers, actors, models, and more for either casual wear or stage appearances. As their infiltration of the KPop world appears to have reached its peak, the time seems appropriate to take a closer look into this particular style. Even more Western companies have given notice, with brands such as J.Crew featuring Saint James as part of their “In Good Company” section.
The Breton Fisherman Sweater was the first piece to be designed that would eventually become a staple for the Saint James company – though there was a long time between its conception and eventual mass marketing. This particular sweater was a simple bit of apparel designed with long days at sea in mind. Primarily used by garlic and onion merchants, it came to be a favorite among those who braved the elements in crossing the English Channel to sell their products to the United Kingdom. During this time period it was the responsibility of mothers and daughters to create these pullovers while using a special stitching technique. Their prowess came to be passed down until the mid-1800s when the Legallais family’s spinning plant known as Filatures de Saint James began making yarn for these sweaters. Popularity of the garment increased rapidly and a factory of today’s Saint James company is still located in the original Saint James village.
More than one hundred and fifty years have passed with their work continuing to be worn all over the world. All garments are very high quality while remaining faithful to their nautically inspired roots. Today Saint James still supplies the French Army and Navy with official uniform sweaters, a tradition since 1858. It is said that the twenty one stripes are each meant to denote a specific victory of Napoleon’s French fleet against the British.
So who have we seen wearing these stripes recently? EXO added a navy and red cotton shirt to their vast wardrobe during the EXO Planet #2 – The EXO’luXion concert (
$145 $138). This clothing choice came as part of their elf costume, worn just prior to a performance of “Peter Pan.” Some members, Suho in particular, have even been seen donning a similar fashion ($75) as far back as 2012.
But EXO is certainly not the only group to employ various Saint James shirts into their wardrobe. Mamamoo selected a variety of pastel colors for their summer performance, pairing the pieces off with white pants, shorts, or a skirt. Their stylists even employed a unique spin on some of the shirts, turning Moonbyul’s light blue and white one (
$93 $89) along with Whasa’s light green and white ( $82 $78) piece into crop tops. Wheein wore an orange and white ( $93 $89) combination while Solar opted for pink and white ( $93 $89). Both of these were left unaltered.
But shirts are not the only things to have proven popular. We have been witnessing Saint James prove themselves to be mainstays in the fashion industry for years. Back in April of 2013 Saint James began branching out when they released a limited edition capsule collection in collaboration with Coach. Their naval heritage and Breton stripes paired easily with Coach’s relaxed take on luxury to create a unique mixture of styles. The collection combined trademarks of each brand by including a classic shirt and pullover alongside numerous bags. But together the two went further to indulge in swimwear, hats, and even a beach towel. Each of these items would have been perfect for a typical summer day or a weekend spent enjoying the French Riviera.
At the time Victoria of f(x) caught onto the growing trend and could be seen in a stunning but simple dress from the collection. It worked well as a comfortable yet tasteful piece to wear while at the airport.
Check out the Saint James U.S. site for more similar styles at saintjamesboutique.com where perhaps you will be able to find additional pieces of interest.
(Photo Credits as Marked, Saint James Facebook )